Harrogate council make U-turn after heavy criticism

Harrogate Borough Council have dramatically changed their stance on installing a life-saving device without planning permission after outrage online.

Friday, 21st August 2015, 11:23 am
Lizzie Hughes stands with her husband Alastair and two paramedics after he was saved by a public access defibrillator when he suffered sudden cardiac arrest (NADV-21-08-15 WEB)

The council faced critical comments on Facebook after Lizzie Hughes posted that the installation of a life-saving heart defibrillator was being blocked because she needed planning permission.

Lizzie had raised more than £2,000 to pay for the cost of the device after her husband, Alastair was saved by a portable defibrillator when he fell victim to Sudden Cardiac Arrest.

But the council released their statement yesterday (Aug 20) saying they had established planning permission was not required for the device following uncertainty regarding planning laws.

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Coun Rebecca Burnett, HBC Cabinet Member for Planning said: “We are pleased to confirm that planning permission will not be required for the installation of defibrillators in the district. Planning laws are not clear on this subject and local authorities across the country have interpreted the planning requirements in different ways.

“Harrogate Borough Council recognises the benefit of these medical devices and feels that they should be treated as de minimis and therefore not require a planning application or any fee. We wholeheartedly support fundraising efforts to purchase such lifesaving equipment.”

The Facebook post on Tuesday evening (Aug 18) had nearly 2,000 shares and many people commenting that the concept was unbelievable and ridiculous.

Lizzie said: “It’s fantastic news and we’ve been so overwhelmed by everyone’s support.”